Note from Pastor Gary Long / / August 29

Dear Summit Family,

Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive vote to call me as your next pastor.  I’m excited to respond to that call and serve you with all my guts.  I can’t guarantee that I will always be perfect, but I do promise to do my best and love on you as friend and pastor.  I look forward to joining with you where you’re already working to love God and neighbor.  You’ve got some great things going on and I’m eager to help.  I believe that God also has some new things in store for us, so I’m looking forward to making new memories and achieving new goals as we tend God’s garden together.

Many of you know already, but our family is in a rough patch right now, as my father is now in hospice care in Wilimington, NC. My family has been spending as much time as possible with him lately, and while we are distressed about his imminent passing, we also recognize that we’ve been granted a beautiful gift of time to say and do “last things.” We welcome your prayers on several fronts; a) that his pain would be well managed, b) that we’d be protected during our highway travels back and forth, and c) when the moment comes for him to cross over that he’d go peacefully and with dignity.

In the mean time, I’ve asked the church leadership for a season of “delay” to begin my work.  I will not be taking any salary and will begin work after he passes. While none of us know the timeline of this situation, I am aiming for my first Sunday to be October 15.  Meanwhile, I’ll begin working with Tracie J to plan worship for the Fall, and I’ll be working with leadership on strategic planning work. I’m hoping you’ll all be patient and understanding.  Tracie and I have secured preachers for the Sundays between T’s departure and my start date.

It’s definitely an unusual circumstance to start off a chapter of ministry, but I’m confident that when we finally get into stride that things are going to be just fantastic!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Gary

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